A former prize fighter gets involved in an armed robbery in this classic adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway story.
Burt Lancaster made his screen debut in this variation on an Ernest Hemingway story that crosses Citizen Kane’s flashbacking structure with a staple noir plot.
Exploring a man’s acquiescence in his fate, Anthony Veiller and John Huston’s script follows how Burt Lancaster’s former boxer is duped into an armed robbery by crime boss Albert Dekker’s most fatale of femmes, Ava Gardner.
But while the action grips, this is primarily a triumph of atmosphere, with director Robert Siodmak imposing an Expressionist intimacy and foreboding onto the monochrome photography. And if you think the score sounds familiar, it ended up on TV cop show Dragnet.
A triumph of atmosphere and gripping action.
Reviewed by David Parkinson